The pieces are coming together at the right time for the Columbus School for Girls cross country team, according to coach Patrick Helgerman.
"We're doing really, really well right now, and I'm pretty excited with the way things are shaking out," he said. "We were dealing with some health issues. Lauren Tierney found out she had iron deficiency but started with vitamins and medication three weeks ago and she ran her season-best time by three minutes in the Madison Christian Invitational (on Sept. 22).
"We've had a couple girls with injuries and one of them is back and the other should be soon, and we have two freshmen, Lauren Sloan and Molly Pawlik, who have really come along well. If we get back fully healthy, people will be looking at us in a few weeks and wondering where the heck we came from."
In the Bobcat Invitational on Sept. 15 at Grandview, Rebecca Tepper finished 14th in 23 minutes, 12.9 seconds, followed by Natasha Spivak (24th, 24:31.8), Eleanor Richardson (32nd, 25:26.6), Mackenzie Peterson (39th, 26:02.1), Tierney (40th, 26:09), Sarah O'Dell (45th, 26:30.1) and Amanda Barok (47th, 26:30.6). The Unicorns finished sixth (118) of seven teams, behind champion Lancaster (39).
"We don't have a standout No. 1 runner, but our splits from (Nos.) 1-5 are really narrow and that space is getting even tighter as we close in on the end of the season," Helgerman said.
Volleyball team battling injuries
The volleyball team had won two of its previous three matches and was 3-8 overall and 0-5 in the CCL entering a Sept. 25 match against Ready.
While the recent wins have given the Unicorns a mental boost, coach Clint Gentry said he has watched his players improve since the start of the season.
"We only have three seniors, so we're young to start with," Gentry said. "We've also had some injuries. So to show noticeable improvement despite injuries and position changes, I'm pleased. Compared to where we were a month ago, this is pretty good. The goal is for us to continue our improvement and growth and to prepare for the (Division II district) tournament."
The Unicorns split a pair of matches Sept. 15, defeating Columbus Academy 25-14, 21-25, 25-23 and losing to Northridge 25-22, 25-16, before defeating Millersport 25-9, 25-12, 25-21 on Sept. 17.
"We were down to Academy 23-17 in the third set and sophomore Bella Sloan served the final eight points," Gentry said. "That was exciting.
"Another sophomore, Emma Salamon, is showing a lot of improvement. We lost one of our seniors, outside hitter Haley Kuproski, for several matches with an ankle injury and she's back and playing very well now, but we've also lost Hailey Kurth, our libero, with an ankle injury. "Bella Lyons has done a phenomenal job stepping in and taking over that role. Rachel Yee has been serving very, very well."
Postseason underway for golf team
The golf team competed in a Division II sectional Sept. 24 at Blacklick Woods, from which the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the district tournament Monday, Oct. 1, at Darby Creek.
At district, the top team and top individual not on that team advance to the state tournament Oct. 12 and 13 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus School for Girls cross country, field hockey, soccer, tennis and volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- North Union Invitational
Oct. 3 -- Backwoods Two-Mile Fest at Thornville Sheridan
Oct. 1 -- At Dublin Jerome
*Sept. 27 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 29 -- Home vs. Grandview
Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Cristo Rey
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
*Sept. 27 -- At Hartley. The Unicorns lost to the Hawks 25-8, 25-11, 25-11 on Sept. 11.
Sept. 29 -- At Grandview
Oct. 1 -- At Granville Christian
*Oct. 2 -- At Watterson. The Unicorns lost to the Eagles 25-9, 25-5, 25-10 on Sept. 4.